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Stop Wasting Your Time With 280 Characters – Focus On This Instead

Guest post from Josh Gallant, Digital Marketing Strategist.

In case you haven’t heard, long-form tweeting now exists.

That is, if you consider 280 characters to be long-form. If you’re comparing that number with the 140 character cap of old, new-school tweets are going to seem like oversized college textbooks.

Am I the first person to jump on the trend and write about the new character limit?

No, I am most definitely not.

Pretty much everyone that creates content and uses Twitter has beat me to the punch. They’re all jumping to answer the most popular question across the internet recently. That question everyone’s asking typically looks something like this:

“How can I BEST use my 280 characters to maximize my tweets?”

Well I’m going to give you an answer you probably haven’t seen yet. How can you utilize all those characters, you ask? Simple…

Ignore 140 of them.

I know what you’re probably thinking…

“What? So you’re saying to just ignore the update entirely?”

Not quite. What I’m saying is this…

The best move may be to NOT jump on the trend like the rest of the Twittersphere is.

How come? That’s what I’m ready to dive into with this post.

Let’s get started…

1. Short & Sweet Is Key

Think about it…

As of this year, Twitter’s reported monthly active user count was up to 330 million. Of those, 61% are millennials. That means the majority of Twitter’s user base are millennials.

Now consider this…

Studies have shown millennials have an average attention span of just 8 seconds. Compare that to the 9 second average attention span of a goldfish and you’ll find that we literally have a shorter attention span than a goldfish.

Is it possible to write something so compelling that we actually stop scrolling to read it, analyze it, form an opinion on it, and engage with it? Absolutely.

What’s far more likely though, is that we’ll pour our heart and soul into those 280 characters, and all that masterfully crafted goodness will simply blend in with the rest of the 280 character masterpieces on someone’s feed.

Social networks are designed to be scrolled through. Naturally, users are going to keep scrolling until something catches their eye. If the feed is full of big blocks of 280 characters, you’re going to blend right in.

Just like that, all the work you put into writing that tweet has gone to waste.

“So you’re saying I should just share 10 word tweets to be different?”

Not necessarily. All I’m saying is the extra effort you’re thinking about putting into your tweets in order to double them in size could be put to MUCH better use.

2. Focus On What Matters Most

You only have so many hours in the day. Assuming you have a ton of stuff to get done within those hours like most of us, you probably don’t have much time allotted for Twitter each week.

For me, I block off about two hours a week to fill my Buffer queue, dig through my feed to find quality tweets I can share, reply to and engage with as many of those quality tweets as possible. Factor in the extra hour or two I spend scrolling every now and then in the evenings and I probably spend a total of 4 hours on Twitter each week.

That means I have 4 hours to divvy up between all of the possible things to do on Twitter. You’re probably in the same boat, give or take an hour.

So the question then becomes something like:

What matters the most, and what matters the least?

I could just tell you, but it’s better if we break it down a bit.

The first piece we need to understand is this…

The key to Twitter is NOT just getting tons of retweets.

Sure that feels awesome when it happens, but if you’re focus is just banking on a handful of tweets going viral, you’re most likely going to be left disappointed and frustrated when it doesn’t happen. Even if you can pull off a viral tweet with 20,000 retweets, your 15 minutes will run its course and you’ll be left clawing at the next possible viral tweet once again.

What’s the more sustainable route to success?

Focus on building real, meaningful, quality relationships.

If your followers came from one viral tweet, anything you share that isn’t directly related to that tweet is going to unnoticed and underappreciated. If your followers list is jampacked full of other people you’ve engaged with and provided value to, they’re going to MUCH more likely to retweet whatever it is you’re sharing.

“Alright Josh, that’s great, but what does that have to do with 280 character tweets?”

To put it simply, the time you’re going to spend crafting these long-form tweets is time you could be putting toward engaging with other real people and planting the seeds of those meaningful relationships you should be striving for. Jump in a few Twitter chats, scroll through some industry-relevant hashtags, follow some influencers in your field. There are plenty of ways to connect with other people in the world of Twitter.

>> READ: 6 Ways To Keep Your Twitter Followers Engaged For Years To Come

Of course, sharing content from your own account is key as well. Not only does this give you and your account some credibility in discussions, it can also open the door to an endless amount of new relationships.

How, you ask? Simple…

Content curation.

What Is Content Curation?

To put it in plain black and white, content curation is simply sharing the content of other people with your audience.

If you come across a great blog post you know your followers would find value in, why keep it to yourself? Not only will sharing it provide that value to your followers, which is a major key to keeping them around, it’ll also give you the chance to get noticed by the author.

The key to make sure that happens is actually mentioning the author.

If you’re sharing great content and giving the author a shoutout in the process, the benefits are massive for the time it takes.

>> READ: 5 Marketing Lessons You Need To Learn From Chance The Rapper

Think about it – when you get mentioned on Twitter, you get a notification. Since we’re all very curious beings, we want to check that notification to see what people are saying about us. Even influencers with a few thousand followers are curious about these mentions, trust me.

Just by tagging the author in your tweet, they’re going to see that you shared their content, probably like the tweet, and maybe even give it a retweet. The good ones will even shoot you back a reply with a well-suited thank you GIF…

Not only do you have an avenue for a conversation around that post with the author, you also have a great chance to have your tweet shared with their audience. From there, your reach only stand to compound. One retweet here, two more there, all the sudden your tweet has been seen by 10x the amount of followers you have.

Consider that your Twitter growth hacking and relationship building lesson of the day.

(This is the perfect time for you to share this post on Twitter and tag @JoshGallantt btw)

How To Curate Efficiently?

With the focus on saving time to focus on what matters, I’d be remised to not shed some light on how you can tackle your content curation efforts efficiently.

Because it’s 2017 and there’s a tool for pretty much everything, the manual work of sitting down, searching for good content, then tweeting each and every one as you go has been replaced by faaaar more efficient methods.

I’ll walk you through my curation process…


Log into my Crate account to check out my top content roundup.

Since Crate automatically scrapes all corners of the internet for the best content out there right now, all you have to do is setup some parameters for what to search for, then let it work its magic. These parameters can be pretty much anything too. I can set up a Crate that looks for content on productivity, time management, and pulls from a certain feed. Your customization possibilities are pretty extensive.


Schedule all of my curated posts for Twitter through Buffer.

You do have a bit of selection here in terms of what tool you use, but I’ve been all in on Buffer for some time now. It’s simple, powerful, and integrates with some of the best tools out there. You can hook up your Buffer account to Crate as well and schedule your posts directly from Crate. Ultimate time-saver right there.


Follow-up and engage with everyone directly on Twitter.

After your posts are scheduled in Buffer, take some time to follow and engage with the authors you’re about to mention. If you start liking some of their tweets and replying to the good ones, you’ll lay the foundation for a solid relationship before even sharing anything of theirs. Once that post actually goes live, they’re much more likely to notice and give it a share.

Now Over To You

The key to Twitter is not just posting something and waiting for virality. If you’re spending the bulk of your time crafting a handful of long-form, 280 character tweets you think are clever, your Twitter growth is going to be pretty non-existent.

Just because you CAN use 280 characters doesn’t mean you HAVE TO use them all.

Spend that time focusing on what matters most, and what’s going to bring the real results for you, your account, and your business.

Relationships are key.

Don’t forget that.

If you’re ready to start leveraging the power of content curation, sign up for a Crate account and a Buffer account, tie them together, then get to work. Create a few industry-relevant Crates let them do the content-finding work, and spend your time focused on relationship building.

Not only will you see great results, you’ll meet some pretty badass people in the process.

Of course, if you dig this post, go ahead and give it a share. Just prepare for a reply from me featuring a well-fitting GIF from Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

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